Benedict XVI: first days as pope

It was a security detail's nightmare, and with &to=http:// 22/101/399/15319_Benedict.html ' target=_blank>Benedict XVI's first days as pope spiced up with seemingly fearless forays into the public, it could be a recurring one.

Standing tall in the rear seat of a black Mercedes convertible, its top rolled back, Benedict gripped a roof bar for support with one hand and with his other waved to pilgrims pressing up against barricades.

Romans on balconies cheered as he rode down a boulevard on his way to St. John Lateran Basilica last weekend. Security men, in dark suits and ties, trotted briskly alongside and looked around anxiously, reports the News Day.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Benedict also announced he had officially put the late Pope &to=http:// ' target=_blank>John Paul II on the fast track to sainthood.

Levada, a conservative fourth-generation Californian well-versed in both church bureaucracy and pastoral practice, will become prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office that Benedict headed with a firm hand for 24 years before his selection as pope on April 19.

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